Monday, July 07, 2008

Sri Lanka retains title by 100 runs

Sanath Jayasuriya brought back memories of his heyday with a ferocious counter-attacking century to help Sri Lanka score 273 in their Asia cup final against India here Sunday. Jayasuriya hammered a quickfire 125 off 114 balls even as Sri Lanka were losing early wickets and were placed at a precarious 66 for four after 12 overs.

Jayasuriya, 39, was in a brutal mode as he raced to his 27th one-day ton in just 79 balls with nine fours and five sixes to lift the defending champions from a seemingly tough situation.

Sri Lanka beat India by 100 runs to successfully defend its Asia Cup title Sunday with spinner Ajantha Mendis taking a record 6-13.

India, chasing 274 runs, was dismissed for 173 in 39.3 overs with Mendis often unplayable in his eight overs.

Sanath Jayasuriya had earlier smashed 125 - his 27th century in one-day internationals - after India won the toss and chose to bowl first.

Mendis' figures were the best ever in the nine Asia Cups, beating Pakistan's paceman Aqib Javed's 5-19 against India in 1995 at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

The Indian batsmen were facing the 23-year-old Mendis for the first time in the tournament and had no answer to his masterful bowling.

Mendis came on in the 10th over after hard-hitting Virender Sehwag (60 off 36 balls) had pushed the score to 76-1.

Mendis broke through in his second delivery when Sehwag, who had hit 12 boundaries, misread a quick delivery and was stumped. An over later, Mendis clean bowled Yuvraj Singh (0) and Suresh Raina (16) with balls that skidded through the Indian lefthanders before Rohit Sharma was trapped leg before wicket off a pefect off-spinner.

Mendis returned for his second spell and claimed the wickets of Irfan Patan (2) and R.P. Singh (0) before Chaminda Vaas (2-55) ended captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's innings - caught behind for 49.

Earlier, Jayasuriya smashed 125 off 114 balls before India bowled out Sri Lanka in 49.5 overs.

Jayasuriya's innings included nine fours and five sixes. The hard-hitting opener revived Sri Lanka's innings by adding 131 runs for the fifth wicket with Tillakaratne Dilshan, who scored 56.

India hit back in the last 10 overs, conceding just 57 runs with R.P. Singh claiming 3-67.

India, which opted to bowl first, struck through its paceman Ishant Sharma (3-52) before Jayasuriya launched a counterattack.

Sharma's triple strike reduced Sri Lanka to 66-4 after 12 overs, including the key run-out for only four runs of Kumar Sangakkara, who was chasing his fourth century in the tournament.

Sharma had captain Mahela Jayawardene (11) caught at point by Rohit Sharma and then removed Chamara Kapugedera (5) and Chamara Silva (0) in his sixth over.

But Jayasuriya felt little pressure from the wickets falling around him and hit paceman Singh for 26 runs in one over with three sixes and two boundaries.

Jayasuriya went on to complete his first century against India in the last four years off 79 balls.

With 27 centuries, Jayasuriya is now the second century-maker in one-day internationals behind India's Sachin Tendulkar, who has 42 centuries.

India came back strongly when it removed both Jayasuriya and Dilshan in the space of 21 deliveries. Ishant Sharma took a well judged catch at deep midwicket as Jayasuriya failed to keep down his sweep shot from part-time off-spinner Virender Sehwag.

Dilshan mistimed a pull shot off left-arm paceman Pathan and skied an easy catch to Dhoni behind the wickets after hitting three boundaries in his 74-ball knock. Parthan finished with 2-67.

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